On correcting mistaken ideas in Boston

marxismleninismmaojiang

A response to Mass Proletariat 

We feel that the public document titled “A Course Correction for Maoism in the US” by Mass Proletariat (Boston) deserves a public response. This is not our preferred method but due to the documents public nature MP has set the method of exchange on this matter. While we have been eagerly following this org since their recent split with the Maoist Communist Group we are still limited in our understanding of what political work they actually do the ground. Only time will tell and this fact limits the scope of our response.

The only qualifier given to their grandiose offer to ‘correct the US Maoist movement’ is near the start of their statement where they refer to their “workplace struggle”. We find this departure point alarming due to the fact that in every single work place workers already struggle – there is zero mention of MP organizing this struggle. As of the time of the publication of their document, official communication has not been secured between us or anyone we are in regular communication with, leaving the bulk of their “course correction” limited to vague speculations which slips right away on its first step into the subjectivism these comrades are trying to criticize. It remains trapped in the perceptive stage of knowledge and can only comment on their incorrect perception of things as an insular group within what they refer to only as “the US Maoist movement” while at no point qualifying what that is or who they are even talking about.

The US Maoist movement is not homogeneous, it is hardly a “movement” yet. The prescriptions put forth here suffer from isolation. MP has not bothered to engage with any official lines or statements put out by actual MLM organizations. They have not given an account of what their practice even looks like, just lofty truisms posturing as “a corrective course”. It would appear that their “correct ideas” have in fact fallen from the sky!

They go on to state that;

In a political situation correct action to advance the class struggle is not possible without careful investigation.”

This is certainly true and we insist that they apply this standard to themselves before they start prescribing it to others. This document is suggesting that they can advance the class struggle, nay, correct it, without doing a thorough investigation themselves! Does investigation simply mean reading social media posts? From the little they have given us during the span of their existence it would appear so.

To make matters worse this document is full of what might be useful criticism, however they fail totally to ever actually say who it is they are specifically criticizing. Two MLM organizations are mentioned by name; one no longer exists, the other is MCG who they split from and have no interest in uniting with, the rest is thrown into the wind and we MLMs are just supposed to snatch out what may or may not be a criticisms of us? At no point is this document specific, it is not clear weather the target be MLM organizations or one of the numerous MLM led mass organizations. Here they speculate again:

In the last few years we have seen the emergence of nearly a dozen collectives in the U.S. which aspire to promote Maoist politics” Really? We would love to know who they are talking about here because we count only 5 or 6 at most. Of course it is possible there are Maoist collectives we have never heard of but surely such a guess lacks a scientific communist method of analysis. Had they been in contact with literally any one of these 4 collectives that were never part of MCG they would have learned quickly that none of us think “base areas are right around the corner” this ludicrous speculation not only reveals their insular thinking on the subject, it reproduces the material conditions for it by insulting a movement they have yet to really join in a meaningful way. While we agree to the need to combat subjectivism, dogmatism, empiricism etc. we must warn these comrades that this is impossible to do when corrections are called for from on high with little effort to demonstrate practice. If these corrections were framed as self-criticism on the part of MP then that would actually mean something. It would seem though, that much of the issues they have with MCG and its former Richmond branch, which they have themselves identified, are reproduced here in this document. Without investigation or official communication these comrades are indeed subscribing to the notion that “what you see is what you get”.

This “corrective course” becomes even more muddled and confused by the bizarre use of terms. They often use the term “backwards” which should be understood in communist terms to mean reactionary, yet it’s used to describe everything from the RCP-USA to MCG, none of which can qualify as reactionary. They state that;

Even at a backwards rally, many workers will grasp key contradictions such as those between them and their bosses.”

We are not sure what a “backwards rally” even means here but would certainly not work within, or participate, in such rallies like Klan rallies, Trump rallies, or InfoWars rallies. In fact, we would confront such reaction and attempt to force it down.

They opportunistically use Stalin to segue into an opportunistic use of Jiang Qing. Let us unpack this. While Stalin did commit the error pointed out by Mao he did not constantly nor perpetually ignore all internal contradictions, we can fault Stalin for not being Mao but in doing so we actually abandon historical materialism, this is better left to the Trots.

While Jiang Qing correctly struggled against the “bloodline theory” MP’s citation of this again fails to keep a thing in its historical context; in the conditions in which it moved. Comrade Jiang stated these things as a party official of a party which was in power, under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Offering this distortion they are making of her correction (as their own), is opportunism. No one in the US MLM movement ascribes to bloodline theory that we know of. Trying to correct such an error which does not exist appears to be an effort to cover for the class reality that composes the membership of MP- which is in its majority not proletarian. Lets examine the difference.

The children born under the proletarian dictatorship in China no longer maintained a bourgeois relationship to production; they participated in class struggle, production and scientific experiment, this was their reality so of course they could develop correct ideas. They did not bear the marks which their parents had and their ideology was, in the majority of cases, already transformed. They had been proletarianized, which is what Mao continued to do by sending students down to the country side. This document by MP smuggles in a petty bourgeois aversion to such a process of transformation, perhaps out of their own fear of being identified as petty bourgeois academics who have not developed close links with the masses. Under the dictatorship of the bourgeois such classes maintain their status, both socially and economically, at the expense of the workers. They do not participate in the class struggle (unless its tourism) and they do not engage in production or scientific experiment. They have yet to be transformed and persist in such petty bourgeois ideology which sees revolution as something they can step into out of no where and correct. This is the reality of class struggle, and conflating the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat with those of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in what is self interest, is nothing short of revisionist contortion. We hope that through protracted mass work and documented summation of practice that this can be transformed and such posturing can be eradicated. If their shit stinks then they should not fault those who can smell it.

While structural factors alone do not determine class stand, transforming ones thinking is required to truly stand with the proletariat. This holds true for many workers themselves who are still deeply attached to bourgeois ideology and narrow self interest. Our organizations should not be composed majorly by those who rely only on theory without participating in production or experiencing the conditions of the workers. It is not up to class allies to consider themselves transformed, their material conditions have determined their consciousness not the other way around. By having organizations led by actual class conscious workers who are Maoists, we have seen beneficial results ourselves. The New Communist Movement distinguished itself from the New Left by the very fact that its spearhead, the Revolutionary Union, pursued a policy that integrated themselves into the working class, while others drifted into on-campus obscurity. Turns out since the proletariat is the revolutionary subject, the only course is to join it and take part in its struggles. If one wishes to have the correct class stand, this is not a matter of sympathy or simply a question of agreeing with the working class- it is also material.

Currently there is mass resistance to black national oppression in the form of the Movement for Black Lives (MBL). Some wrongly dismiss this resistance as completely consolidated to a reformist line. These comrades focus on reformist statements made by various leaders of MBL, but fail to investigate the contradictions within the mass movement.”

Here, again, we have no hope of surmising who is meant by “some”. Do they mean Maoists or non affiliated individuals? Had they actually read the published articles from Maoist organizations they would find that they are a little late to the dance on this topic. Since we cannot say that these comrades specifically are charging RGA with the error of ignoring the contradictions between Black Lives Matter as organization and as a movement as well as contradicting aspects within each of them respectively, we hope to defend not only ourselves but others within what they allude to as the Maoist movement. For starters we (RGA) emerged from this Movement for Black Lives, since our inception, not only have we pointed to these contradictions but were actually born from them. This is evident and explicit in both our year one summation and numerous statements and articles we have produced on the topic. Mass organizations lead by MLM comrades such as Progressive Youth Organization-STL have shared invaluable criticism and analysis of their memberships direct involvement in the Ferguson rebellion as well as “BLM” as a whole. At no point did they ignore the internal contradictions. Even organizations which are not led by black Maoists such as RGLA have done public education on the history of Black Liberation movements in the US – they too do not ignore the internal contradictions. Former organizations such as the NCP-LC and both chapters of RSCC have authored and published articles on this very topic. Not only does MP not say who they are talking about, they do not seem to even know who (or what) they are talking about. No one has sought “purity” in the mass movement, we have been partisans in it and have a firm base of practice when we offer up our “corrections”.

The document in question warns readers of the dangers of social media and this is half true, They fail to understand the use of a thing. Future Menshiviks would oppose Lenins call for a party news paper based on the same grounds. Social media has mass participation. We do not for one second think it should be used to organize anything or build the party, what it should be used for is propaganda and the spread of ideology. They can only take a mechanical approach and not really contend with the dual aspect of the thing when they prescribe such platitudes as: “At this moment there is a need for Maoist forces in the U.S. to engage in serious ideological exchange and line struggle. This cannot happen on social media forums (which are platforms for state surveillance), text messages, or a few conversations among individuals. Instead, Maoist political organizations in the U.S. must utilize secure communication and in-person group meetings to struggle, criticize, and transform.” more on this later.

Section five of their document gets bold in stating that:

Many in the U.S. who nominally adhere to Maoism actually put into practice a politics of supposed purity, which is opposed to Maoist mass line politics. This typically manifests in reductionist ideas of the distinction between friends and enemies based on adherence to the ‘brand’ of Maoism and/or the social class of members of the masses. We must call this what it is: an idealist politics of purity that negates the need for two-line struggle at all times.”

This sounds like genuine anti-sectarianism and a desire for unity on the surface but go a little deeper….. by saying “nominally” as well as “Maoist mass line politics” and “brand of Maoism” they have smuggled in revisionism. Let us be mercilessly clear on this fact; two line struggle means the struggle between the communist line and the revisionist line, capitalist and communist ideology in struggle- which is not detached from previous line struggles, from where these lines have been concentrated. Line struggle corrects and improves a line. So clearly it is not a question of contending brands of Maoism but a question of Maoism or revisionism. Ideology is reduced to sectarian infighting by MP and ideological content of Maoism is brushed aside as “yet to be determined” according to them, especially when they try to subvert ideology by refusing to understand that LINE STRUGGLE IS CLASS STRUGGLE. There are no contending brands of Maoism – there is only Maoism and revisionism. This distraction is revisionism smuggled in quietly via liberalism. It is not a question of purity or pure theory it is a question of weather or not Maoism exists or if contrarily it is yet to be synthesized. We know Maoism exists so we aim to use it as our guide to action. The mass line is correctly understood as a method of Maoist leadership, the mass line is not the fundamental aspect of MLM, such reduction is to literally liquidate Maoism as the third and highest stage of all Marxism. Ideological struggle is important if we wish to bloom and contend against the domination of revisionism over the US left. We must abandon eclecticism and post-MLM trash which presents itself as “MLM”.

Maoism is of course a living and developing science, however, this does not mean abandoning what has already been proven true and accepting eclecticism similar to left-refoundationalists, Kasama or the RCP-USA. These alterations and improvements which must be applied to MLM must come from the class struggle itself in the applications of the universal to the specific. Reducing ideological struggles to the low level of competitive brands or a desire for “purity” is the least Maoist way one could look at the situation.

We find the next issue to be so ill informed that our readers must be asked to forgive us for quoting this section at length;

Other organizations defend political work which, in content, is the same as charity, as being beyond critique. They claim that that this sort of engagement with the masses will eventually lead to the creation of base areas. These groups do not understand the need to differentiate between the advanced, intermediate, and backwards members of the masses. In opposition to these idealist deviations, there is a need to expand both the scope and quality of political work among the masses. We must also expand principled discussion and struggle between Maoist forces in different locales. Serious ideological struggle and comradely criticisms between groups are the preconditions of building a MLM party in the U.S. There is limited time in a day, and only so many years in a life. In order to make concrete gains, we must cast aside all illusions of purity, struggle to grasp our strengths and shortcomings, and learn from our past failures. Internally, this takes the form of principled democratic centralism. Only through this process can we build a proletarian political force capable of establishing a DoP. The abandonment of democratic centralism in favor of pure centralism results in the promotion of supposed experts detached from the concrete needs of the proletarian movement. This has and remains an Achilles heel of the Maoist movement in the US. Even in 1971, Bob Avakian was introduced to members of the Revolutionary Union as ‘the man who will lead the revolution in America’, and that was at a time when the group was a far cry from the backwards party it became and remains. In the recent experiences of the NCP(LC) and MCG(NY), a similar phenomenon of self-declared leaders developed, divorced from the actual needs of organizations and of the class struggle. Rather than fantasizing about who will be the people to lead a revolution, the emphasis should fall on the theory and practice needed to advance revolutionary development now.”

While MP refused to be direct, and honest- we do not share their liberal malady and will say it like it is without mincing our words. This section is clearly directed at the Serve The People programs which operate as mass organizations around the country in 5 different cities. The issue is that MP is not honest or direct when leveling this criticism. None the less let us grapple with it and see where it fits. For starters it is apparent that MP has not actually investigated any STP and is operating solely off their best guess. This statement comes out the gate on a massive confusion- STP is not just “political work” it is mass work. STP from its inception here in Austin has been open and honest with the fact that its work alone or isolated from the life of the party will not establish base areas. Base areas are won- in the true sense – by force of arms. While Mass Proletariat carefully avoids ever issuing a statement pertaining to military strategy or armed struggle at all for that matter, the Mass organizations under the banner of STP have been upfront with their stances on the necessity of armed struggle and revolution. STP has also been upfront about the fact that the masses are not a homogeneous group and that revolutionaries must contend with the contradictions that exist among the people- this is identifying clearly the existence of the advanced, intermediate and backward. STP has actively struggled against errors committed by charities and has even written articles against NGO’s. This is, like most things, a work in progress. They then go on to suggest that not only are the masses and cadres in STP too theoretically ignorant to identify the levels of consciousness which we face, but that our scope and quality of political work among the masses must be expanded. This is nothing but an order from up high; a “correct idea” innate in the minds of some intellectuals. In what ways has MP ever suggested, let alone demonstrated, how it is that we can expand the scope and quality of our work among the masses? No shit it must be expanded! Mass organizations are not born adults, like everything else, they start out small. They grow and develop in both scope and quality. In fact STP has blossomed into multiple mass organizations since its birth less than two years ago. What is the mass work MP has been doing all this time? In reality this section as well as the overall document is guilty of its own charges: it reveals the closed off thinking of those experts who are detached from the needs of the proletarian movement. We aim to meet those needs directly and materially while advancing the masses and their specific struggles but let us first explain exactly why STP is not a charity.

Charity is most popularly understood as hand-outs from above which offer peace, salvation, comfort etc. Charity can only ever fill the potholes (temporarily) which are created by capitalism. MP makes a fundamentally revisionist error by understanding the act of giving things away simply as charity. They are only looking at physical production and totally ignoring political line and specifically the politics which command STP. STP does give away items, however, it also does far more than this, it educates and organizes the masses to take part. It identifies the enemies and mobilizes people to target them. STP engages in exposing the contradictions of capitalism, not glossing over them as charities do. By subjectively only looking at one side of things, MP has again lapsed into delusion. STP stands not only to assist in providing the masses with material aid, but in the process of doing so it seeks to ween the people off of dependence on the state and the ruling class for the things that they need; be they material goods, services, cultural needs or political needs. In order for revolutionary ideas to spread among the people, there must be a clean break with this system, there must be a break with its ideology and with dependence on its representatives that infest the hood in the form of NGO’s, churches and charities. STP takes this question seriously and stands to become a true fighting organization of the people. We are not so ignorant as to think that we can gain the trust and support of the masses by simply holding demos or selling them papers. We must aim to share their daily struggle by acknowledging their needs and showing an earnest desire for their health and well being. This kind of mass work is as rooted in Maoism as anything else and cannot be dismissed as “charity” so easily. STP-LA the second mass organization with the name has made international news due to their militant confrontations with gentrification in Boyle Heights. While the other organizations are newer, there is nothing in their practice or content which could justify the dismissal as charity the way MP has done here in a cowardly way, which covers their asses with “plausible deniability”. This reveals not only their class stand but their relationship to ours. Our people go without so we provide for them. This service does not exist in a vacuum– it gives us an ear, a platform among the people. It provides us with innumerable ideas directly from the people. Every single serving and free store concretizes the practice of the mass line method of leadership. These comrades bemoan the self styled leaders of the past without contending with the process in which communist leadership emerges- through the masses in practice, which is something Serve The People is demonstrating. We do not fault them for making any criticism which they feel appropriate we just insist they not be liberals about it, that they actually investigate and struggle with the material practice of other organizations. Especially when their “corrective course” in no way reveals what proper communist mass work should even look like. To know a pear you must first taste it!

The fantasies of MP continue as they insist on “isolating the backward” while calling non-revolutionary but progressive organizations backward. Not only do these comrades have such a high opinion of themselves that they think they can correct the movement, but they also think that they can “isolate the backwards” with no political power! This is an ultra-left delusion fitting of their former partners in Richmond. A correct understanding of the mass line is found however in Mao’s own words in the text titled: ‘Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership’ where he states;

The masses in any given place are generally composed of three parts, the relatively active, the intermediate and the relatively backward. The leaders must therefore be skilled in uniting the small number of active elements around the leadership and must rely on them to raise the level of the intermediate element and to win over the backward elements. A leading group that is genuinely united and linked with the masses can be formed only gradually in the process of mass struggle, and not in isolation from it.

is Mao correct or is MP correct?

Contrary to Mao himself, MP is bent on isolation even in the absence of power. They go on to revise Mao by adding this;

“All of these backwards tendencies functionally promote the understanding that class ideas are synthesized separately from actual politics by a self-appointed ‘leadership’. This approach is a negation of the mass line. In order to avoid these deviations, Maoists must fuse with the masses, investigate their situation, and work to identify divisions internal to various mass movements.”

So is it uniting around leadership or is it fusing with the masses? Is it winning over the backward elements to the cause of revolution or is it a fools attempt to isolate them in the absence of power to even do so? We agree with Mao and will leave this correction aside so that when it comes into contradiction with reality these comrades can stand to learn a thing or two from their own mistakes.

The whole conception that MP has of the mass line is incorrect in previous documents they have mentioned “concentrating the correct ideas of the masses” the correctness of an idea however, is determined in the concentrating process as well as the propagating stage of the mass line. What MP has here is not the mass line, it is a distortion of it which amounts to cherry picking the ideas of the masses which MP already see as correct! What is worse is not only do they think they have the power to “isolate the backwards” they also think they can “isolate backwards ideas”! We seek to transform and correct mistaken ideas. We oppose cherry picking and posturing.

The document concludes with a call to link up. While it may be news to only MP, we must state that we have been, and remain, in conversation with our comrades in other collectives, We even worked along side members of the new RG-PHL in our summer cadre school program. Maybe they mean official organizational links? Maybe they mean establishing some husk that resembles democratic centralism prematurely as a mere formality? We hope not. Unity is formed through a process of struggle, it faces uneven development and set backs. At least at this stage of struggle we know that we can count on exchange and support between these collectives.

MP suggests;

To advance, we must promote prolonged and ongoing ideological exchange and discussion among emerging Maoist forces about political practice and theory. This process is not organic. It cannot be left to chance. It must be planned, scheduled, and methodically approached in relationship to the needs of the moment. This development cannot take place on a Facebook forum. It needs to be a concerted effort in which time is made amongst comrades in different locales to struggle over foundational issues. Eventually, this practice will need to expand on a mass scale, in which every town and city in America will have a place people can go to learn about Maoist political practice and share experiences, in the spirit of the great link-ups of the Red Guards during the GPCR. The spread of this practice will contribute to the founding of a Maoist communist party in the U.S. The central argument of this essay is that there is a need for Maoist forces to link up.”

The Red Guards of China were not seeking to build a communist party, their gatherings existed long before the internet created the contradiction these comrades are trying to point out. We feel that social media cannot be casually dismissed it must be understood and utilized responsibly, that if debate erupts there then many people can learn from such an exchange and that it is up to those involved to set a better example. Social media exists and people are going to use it. There is no sense in avoidance. Of course organization to organization communications are handled between collectives in agreed upon methods. The proletarian populated MLM collectives are small and new, we simply cannot afford to hop on a plane and “Link up” for regular meetings. In our year one summation we mentioned how our leadership has spent time with RGLA, and in this document, how RG-PHL leadership attended our cadre school, this has forged the basis for principled unity.

We conclude that such a process can be organic or it can be planned. Line struggle is an inevitability that will arise most anywhere and inside of every group. It cannot be limited exclusively to planned meetings. For instance here is line struggle; here we have responded in the way we were forced too, by the fact that MP has issued their statement of corrections intended for the Maoist movement, which of course includes us in RGA and our comrades elsewhere. We cannot simply “link up”. We will struggle for unity with others and not submit to responding in private to liberal allegations which were made in public. We have already spent more time responding to the positions of these comrades than they deserve since in the final analysis their arguments are baseless and divorced from experience. We are saddened by the continuum of pomp and ego spilling from the east coast. We hoped for better and issue this statement not as a denunciation but as a firm correction to the misconceptions casually vomited out from MP. Again we plead with these comrades to take their own advice to investigate before they speak publicly and to actually have the patience to await official exchange especially when we were in the process of establishing such. We welcome direct contact and will not after the publication of this document continue to exhaust energy on the matter in the form of open polemic.

Sincerely and without pride of place,

Red Guards Austin September 2016

Original article can be read here; http://www.massproletariat.info/writings/2016-08-16-Course_Correction.html

Remembering Chile critically

There is far too much to asses regarding the 1973 coup d’etat for the scope of this single article, however we feel that in a sea of 911 memorial posts around the fascist take over and bombing of La Moneda in 1973, much of the most vital criticisms fall to the wayside. While  Salvador Allende was the closest thing to a socialist president Chile has ever seen, and was genuinely attempting to keep the interests of the Chilean people at heart, the internal contradictions were the principle actors over the external conditions. The coup first and foremost stands as a stark and mournful warning against the sort of revisionism which we refer to as the parliamentary road. Allende won presidency in a close race and was elected in a run-off by congress as no candidate had gained a majority. This was the start of a doomed project that can best be understood in its dual aspects. On one hand this left wing president is an icon to many and is correctly upheld as a martyr and fighter against US imperialism. On the other hand his parliamentary, electoral road to socialism led to a fascist military Junta. The principle lesson to be gained here is summed up by Mao Zedong who teaches,

“…every communist must grasp the truth; political power grows out of the barrel of a gun…” and “…without a peoples army the people have nothing.”rcpchile

Are these two statements by Mao correct? Yes, they are correct as well as universal and we must understand these truths when summing up the fall of Allende. Marx, in assessing the failures and successes of the Paris Commune had already laid out such truth which was reverberated by Lenin when theorizing the nature of the state, that; the proletariat cannot assume control of the ready made state apparatus that there necessarily has to be a smashing of the state. Failure to smash the state has inevitable and tragic results. From the genocide of 1 to 3 million communists in Indonesia, to the murder of Thomas Sankara, to the Coup in Chile; the parliamentary road is one doomed to the worst kind of defeat, it is soaked in more blood than armed revolution could ever be accused of. The revisionist reading of history diverts from both historical materialism and dialectical materialism by its insistence that the negative turn of events is due materially to the CIA operations, this outright places all focus on the external factors and not the internal class struggle- worst of all it fails utterly to learn from its own mistakes. The revisionists long for an Allende of their own and they present us with even less revolutionary versions in the form of “socialist” candidates that they still ask us to vote for.

Much more work and research should be done on the contradictions between the revisionist Moscow aligned Communist Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Chile which would require volumes. What is important here is class stance and a true understanding of how fascism comes to power. Latin American Marxist leader Jose Carlos Mariategui taught that fascism is what emerges for capitalism in order to sustain itself when it is in decay and thrown into a state of crisis, when the bourgeois ruling class can no longer rule in the old way (in the absence of a communist vanguard party). Allende by virtue of his high office was the embodiment of such a crisis, any socialist who took seriously the project of collectivization and nationalization would also create such a crisis, and the bourgeois would do as they have done, respond with its heavy shock troops- fascism. Revolution and reaction are antagonistic opposites, one must do the other in, there can be no coexistence between them. Allende even in the most charitable understanding did not provide the people with either a peoples army or establish the dictatorship of the proletariat-  which is an absolute necessity in protecting the gains of the working class by the suppression of the bourgeoisie and its reactionary fascist defenders. Furthermore the working class in spite of the nationalization and collectivization of certain industries never became the ruling class, or the leaders of revolution. On one hand you had a progressive national bourgeoisie represented by Allende who sought social welfare and on the other a reactionary comprador fascist bourgeoisie represented by the Junta, these two forces came into such contradiction that it could only be solved through means of war, a war that the progressive forces could not win.allende-with-pinochet

Allende himself weaved the rope that would be used hang him by appointing Augusto Pinochet to be the commander and chief of the Chilean army on august 23rd 1973, less than one month later Pinochet would lead the fascist US backed coup. The masses themselves remained unarmed, without militias or a red army of any sort which could safeguard against this inevitable reaction. Every socialist revolution or step toward socialism is met with reaction. From Chang Kai-shek, to the Czarist white army we can see the bourgeois react violently to social change. Two things are required to stamp this threat out, a peoples army and mass support, neither of which were secured or created by Allende. Peaceful transition to socialism is not only revisionism but the most dangerous kind of idealistic dreaming that has very real consequences. The Fascist’s wasted no time in torturing and persecuting communists, socialists, artists, intellectuals and workers who they were at all suspicious of, their reign of terror lasted for decades and their economic reforms placed the poor on the receiving end of prolonged violence.

The CIA took advantage of an internal contradiction to topple an anti-imperialist leader, to rob the Chilean people of hope for a more egalitarian society and prop up a sympathetic reactionary puppet government as they have done the world over, however, the CIA is not invincible. In reality the CIA and all American imperialism is a paper tiger. It has been crushed the world over by revolutions and national liberation struggles, in Korea and Vietnam we have seen the US beaten back and sent running by the masses of people, we have seen it resisted and allowed no victory for the past 15 years in Afghanistan. We will continue to see it get its teeth knocked out everywhere it goes until we see it toppled here at home in its very heart.

So what do these harsh lessons of the Chilean tragedy offer us in 2016? Fist and foremost it offers us a cautionary tale that revisionism in spite of even its better intentions cannot and will not serve the people, that no matter how sincere a socialist candidate might be they will still find the end which met Allende. Voting socialist and participating in the bourgeois elections can be met with such a fate. Even before they could accomplish such a spectacular end revisionism and the electoral road results in nothing but defeat. A persistent march down this road has been the course of the majority of the US left which still orients itself to a minority of the population in appeals to voting. They are content enough with the way things are to continue dancing with the existing system. This year we will not be asking for anyone to vote in this charade of capitalist politics, not for Jill Stein who pales in comparison to Allende and stands far less of a chance at either being elected or actually standing up to imperialism, nor for either of the two mainstream candidates who are both so right wing that either represent a hopeless continuum of the general trajectory of this system. Secondly we can take hope from the situation by a clearheaded view of its shortcomings, we can surmise that while the CIA can make use of reactionary forces that it cannot be triumphant and that it will be dashed on the rocks of revolution, provided we apply the lessons we take from the history of class struggle. We can proceed with honestly as we abandon the parliamentary road, when we build for revolution and when we construct the Party and the peoples army, when we establish a united front of all progressive forces led by the party. To do this revisionism must not be given ground and it must not be allowed to take root among the people. When say remember Chile, we must also say never again!

 

 

News from Comrades in Turkey

This is a recent statement from Halk Cephesi (People’s Front) International Relations Committee , please read and share widely- RGA

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AKP IS TRYING TO CORRUPT THE PEOPLES OF TURKEY! HASAN FERIT GEDIK CENTRE FOR STRUGGLE AND LIBERATION AGAINST DRUGS WAS OCCUPIED BY AKP’S MURDEROUS POLICE AND TURNED INTO A POLICE STATION!

IT WAS NOT DRUG DEALERS THAT WERE DETAINED, BUT RATHER 15 CHILDREN OF THE PEOPLE UNDERGOING TREATMENT!

WE INVITE ALL OF THOSE UNITED IN THE ANTI-IMPERIALIST FRONT TO SHOW SOLIDARITY!

The Hasan Ferit Gedik Centre for Struggle and Liberation against Drugs, which was founded by Halk Cephesi in 2014 in Istanbul’s Gazi Mahallesi, in order to wage a struggle against drugs, was raided by AKP’s murderous police in the early hours of August 31. As a result of the repression in the drug rehabilitation centre, 15 persons that were struggling to get rid of their drug dependency were taken into custody.

The AKP seeks to popularize drug use, especially in revolutionary neighbourhoods, in order to hinder the politicization of the youth. While drug dealers are warned and punished through the efforts of the Gazi People’s Assembly and the members of the Halk Cephesi, the AKP rewards these pushers by calling them victims of terrorism and compensating them.

Drug dealers, which are punished by the Halk Cephesi, are escorted from the neighbourhood under police protection! The patients, the people’s children, struggling to climb out of the system’s quicksands, are taken into custody at dead of night and agonized by armed police officers!

This centre, tasked with keeping the struggle alive, adorned with the name of Hasan Ferit Gedik, who was slaughtered by drug gangs during an action to oppose the degradation of the people in Istanbul’s Gülsuyu Mahallesi, hosted the 7. International Eyüp Baş Symposium for Peoples’ Unity against Imperialist Aggression on April 15-16, 2016 to progress the peoples’ anti-imperialist solidarity. This centre was raided and occupied by the police because this centre gives hope to the peoples of the world, because it pulls the youth out of the system’s quicksands!

Even though 1 week has passed since the assault took place, the police attack the people at gunpoint, the families of the drug-addicted individuals, taken into custody, are assaulted and detained! The Murderous police have occupied the Hasan Ferit Gedik Centre for Struggle and Liberation against Drugs and are building a police station. The Big Gazi Park, which belongs to the people of Gazi, was occupied by the bloody-minded police, who closed all of its entrances and exits!

We invite all of our revolutionary friends to display solidarity against the conversion of this centre, at which the people’s children have been receiving treatment against drug dependency, into a police station.

To demand the release of those of our friends, with whom we ate and drank together, those friends, with whom we, at the symposium, organized solidarity against the issues of the peoples of the world; to hinder the conversion of this centre into a police station, let’s organize actions of solidarity in front of Turkish Embassies and Consulates all around the world! Let’s publish statements of solidarity!

Down with Fascism, Long Live our Struggle!

Long Live International Solidarity!

We Demand the Release of Those, Detained at the Hasan Ferit Gedik Centre For Struggle and Liberation against Drugs!

We Will not Allow for the Hasan Ferit Gedik Centre for Struggle and Liberation against Drugs to Be Turned into a Police Station!

We Will not Allow for the People of Gazi to Be Slaughtered!

Halk Cephesi (People’s Front) International Relations Committee

05.09.2016

DON’T VOTE, REVOLT!

 

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This year we call on all genuine revolutionaries, the masses, and all allied or supportive mass organizations to boycott the November presidential elections. We encourage all progressive community organizers and revolutionary collectives to take part in opposing this election and educating those around them on the true nature of US politics. We encourage all our comrades to promote revolution as the only viable path to freedom from the oppression and exploitation of this capitalist imperialist system, and to no longer sign off on these representatives of the ruling class either by endorsing them or lending them credibility through the vote. This year’s election and every other US presidential election is a sham, a spectacle that is designed only to offer the illusion of political agency. Talk to people at your work, at school, at the bus stop, and in the streets about the hard reality that we workers have no real representation in this system. Talk about how democracy does not mean checking a box once every four years; it means unified action by the people to express their real concerns and assert their power in the form of rebellion and revolution. Organize educational or cultural events around the boycott and promote it in the form of posters in your area. For those working class people who still feel compelled to take part in voting, we challenge you to not stop there, to take to the streets with us and use every possible means to enact and assert change that goes far beyond the polling stations. Real power is in revolt, not the ballot box.

There has never been such a clear indication of the sham politics of bourgeois democracy as this year’s presidential election, where we get to choose either a proven war criminal or a crooked slum lord who relies on fascist and reactionary populism. In between them is a sea of liberalism which would shame the average worker for not taking part in such a spectacle. The US presidential election has shaped up to be as dramatic and shallow as a televised wrestling match between two representatives of the ruling class, only far less entertaining. While many will participate in the theatrics by putting forward their best hopeless candidate, exhausting resources and volunteer time to get you to vote for a “socialist,” we call this what it is—a waste of time. We have zero interest in offering even the most marginal amount of legitimacy to something as illegitimate as US elections, a circus where the bourgeois ruling class capitalists pretend to let us choose which of their representatives gets to head up the criminal empire that exploits workers domestically and kills them in drone strikes overseas, all in our name. The joke is on us and we will never take part in such a bullshit system. Why choose “the lesser of two evils” when the only decent choice is to fight for a better world?

During the 2012 elections, about 240 million Americans were of voting age, while about 146 million were actually registered. Of those registered, 17 million people did not go to the polls. 39% of people know that registering to vote is a waste of time, and only 53% of people actually vote. We are constantly told that we live in the greatest democracy in the world, and that voting is the pinnacle of this democratic achievement, yet the numbers show that it’s nearly a 50/50 split among the population between seeing through the sham of US bourgeois politics on the one hand, and dragging oneself out to the polls to exercise this “historic opportunity” before heading back to work and the unchanging grind of exploitation on the other. Even considering the massive propaganda machine that the state deploys to shame, guilt and motivate people to vote, 111 million voting age people do not, and people making less than $20,000 a year have the lowest voting rates of anyone.

Some people will tell us that if we do not vote then we cannot complain. We say the opposite—since we have no one to vote for who actually represents the people, all we can do is rebel against this system. By not voting, we are protesting and refusing to be complicit in the crimes that both of these two candidates would be certain to commit as president, and we denounce the crimes they have already committed so far. Even the most “radical” president would still be confined to the limitations and activity approved by the ruling elite. Without totally smashing the existing ruling class and its state we will not see thorough revolutionary change, and it is high time we stopped buying the snake oil hocked by these criminal politicians. We must cast aside all illusions and prepare for struggle.

Many workers already see through the sham of US elections. When we speak to them, they tell us the many reasons why they see no point in voting. Others from both the left and right would misidentify and criticize this stance as lazy or apathetic. In reality, the working class knows in its heart that these cosmetic questions of who will be the next president do not address the real issues they face as a class. This is a correct idea and it must be seen as an advanced form of class awareness.

The purpose of this boycott is to highlight the limitations of participating in this bogus system, while agitating for revolution as the only solution. We must utilize everything at our disposal make information pamphlets, posters, and fliers which can be spread widely both in the streets and online, uniting all who can be united around the spreading of revolutionary ideas in opposition to the reformist and defeatist ideas, mobilizing the masses in the interest of ending capitalism. We must build in the interest of revolution!

Revolution requires a full ideological break with capitalist “democracy” and their bourgeois elections. When revisionists call on the masses to vote for a bourgeois candidate or one of their hopeless “socialists,” they are actually refusing to break with the ideology of bourgeois “democracy,” which can only perpetuate it. This amounts to pathetic and cynical distrust for revolution, a lack of faith in the ability of the masses to resist such a system, and confusion on who actually constitutes the advanced within our society. They attempt to drag the masses of workers and oppressed nations people back into the bourgeois system—a system we already see as pointless to participate in, and one the masses have largely abandoned. Organizing people to boycott the elections allows real revolutionaries to consolidate those who can already identify the toxic nature of the US electoral machine, instead of pulling them backward into a system we can all see as undemocratic. We must draw firm lines between those who are part of the system and those who organize to dismantle and destroy capitalism.

Time and time again we are fed promises from these ruling class puppets it is high time we stopped listening and started acting! We call for a day of action on November 8th as soon as the polls open; a day where we can make our voices heard and let others know why it is that we will not be voting!

Down with the elections
Fuck voting for a ruling class vulture
Build for revolution in 2016!

-Red Guards Austin

Farewell Signalfire

youngstalinbookWhile the loss of Signalfire as a resource is not something we celebrate, we must also understand that as a project it is easily replaceable. We must also state that our domestic Maoist movement is not weakened by ideological deserters, who in essence are just opportunists who have finally stopped calling themselves Maoists. Things develop through rupture—one divides into two—this is a truth confirmed in daily struggle. The editor of Signalfire has provided us with a concise confession of such ideological degeneration that we feel it merits a public response. Over time we have found Signalfire to be a really useful resource for spreading news of revolutionary struggles to people in other places—this has been helpful and reflected good internationalist values. The editor’s confession is nothing but an attack on Maoism and a refusal to continue in its internationalist tradition.

The editor chose an interesting image to accompany their confessional and revisionist propaganda, a painting titled The Black Circleby artist Kazimir Malevich painted in 1915. This seems innocent enough on the surface, but the painting perfectly represents the article in question. Malevich believed his paintings to reflect traditional Russian piety, he further stated that it represented a “desperate struggle to free art from the ballast of the objective world.” This article, a delusional work of fiction, is most certainly free from the ballast of the objective world. A taste for bourgeois modern art that appears divorced from the class struggle is no crime in and of itself, but when the art is used in communistpropaganda we must examine it deeper. All art represents a class and a set of class interests, and this art as well as the article both sought to accomplish the same goal of obscuring the class struggle. It is no wonder the author chose this artist who was allegedly persecuted by Stalinfor a piece that doubles the attack on Maoism with a side of condemnation for comrade Stalin. But enough with art, let’s discuss the other fabrications.

The first is the obfuscation around the nature of the project itself. While the author insists that .. 

This website has always been the personal project of a single individual in the United States since it began its current incarnation five years ago.” 

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Screenshot taken from Signalfire May 2016

.. We know that at one point it was presented as a media project of the Maoist Communist Group, meaning any personal involvement was subordinate to a collective overall. The project is now out of their hands, so it follows that the editor’s issue is not so much that they don’t wish to devote their time and effort to maintaining the project, but moreso sees it as a project not worth undertaking. Or more accurately, that the editor is now actively opposed to the projects formerly professed aim, without any critical analysis of their own involvement over the past five years. They have quite simply washed their hands of it and moved on. Otherwise this could have easily been turned over to a different collective that could carry the responsibility of managing it.

The editor then goes on to issue wild allegations that at no point does he attempt to substantiate:

I no longer consider the so called ‘International Communist Movement’ with its proliferation of cultish microsects and blind worship of failed past movements to be worth promoting.”

The departure point of this accusation rests on not applying dialectical materialism to the movement and growth of communism, almost parodying the end of historynarrative. Any setbacks or failures cannot simply be pointed to as self-evident justifications of defeatism. They must analyzed in order to extract the lessons for a future success. This is the real essence of continuity and rupture, the essence of Maoism itself. While expressing a moderate level of sympathy with the armed struggle in India, the author finds it fitting to throw those comrades under the bus out of some vague grievance with the International Communist Movement (ICM) as a whole.

This error in thinking is crystallized in the statements of the Virginia branch of the Maoist Communist Group (which later liquidated into the Richmond Struggle Committee Initiative [RSCI]), where they extensively quote from the ultra-left Italian adventurists Brigate Rossi, including their total social warnonsense. This has been detailed in a statement issued by their former comrades in Boston. In both instances the author as well as RSCI are negating the ideological and political role of the party as the leading force and have slipped into what we can only call a militarist fetish. On the whole Signalfire has over time degenerated into only covering articles detailing military operations and through this total subjectivist viewpoint it has sunk totally into demoralization and defeatism.

The military aspect is important but it is only one aspect of a revolution. The article drifts further into the foul and desperate realm of ultra-leftism by its claim that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, an ideology which guides the most advanced sections of the worlds proletariat in the highest expressions of class struggle, is nothing but theological idealism.This anti-people arrogance is in essence an assertion that the communist parties who fight for communism and have lost many martyrs in that fight are nothing but misled, tricked, or simply fools. This same dictum can be found in countless bourgeois orientalist articles that compare the Asian masses to a hive mind. We suppose they just lack the overfed intellect of the former Signalfire editor. This editor even claims that

If considered realistically the Cultural Revolution is a defining event of 20th century politics which marks the implosion of both state socialism as a mode of capital accumulation and the Leninist party as a political structure in correspondence with this.

This display of gross individual intellectualism is claiming here to have developed a new synthesis based solely on his misinterpretation of the conclusion of the GPCR! And this would not be complete without regurgitating the tales of a Stalinist continuation” that were put forth in the sham of a document Bloom and Contendby Chino, who was himself guilty of regurgitating old Trotskyite polemics against Mao Zedong Thought. The former editor has here managed not only to throw out the baby with the bath water but has given up on bathing altogether, so to speak.

As if that were not enough, he writes,

Regardless of such differences the importance of defending comrades who are sacrificing their lives to defend popular survival rights against genocidal counter-insurgency policies is clear.

We agree to the importance of defending these comrades and are at a loss at how the closing of the website combined with an anti-Maoist smear piece in any way is defending our comrades in India. We assume that the author does not fancy his efforts so much that he thinks he is capable of physically defending the comrades in question, so that leaves only ideologically defending them, which is the opposite of what he is doing here. This is classic opportunism and it rings out loud and clear. The author even boldly states the irrelevancy of the ICM to class struggle in the countries in which it exists. This reflects one of the worst understandings you could hope to find held by a so-called communist. The communist movement in these places and elsewhere is not irrelevant; the communist organizations are the organizations of the proletariat without which revolution is impossible, and his distortion and negation of this fact only means that for all his bluster he cannot see a thing in motion. Rather he views matter in stasis, which is anything but a Marxist, proletarian worldview. This is a foul standard among the ranks of revisionists of all stripes and is in the backpack of every traitor, deserter, and bitter ex-comrade. While the author might have some marginal sympathy left for the CPI (Maoist), he exposes his fair-weather support in the fact that this marginal sympathy is—at best—only based on what the Maoists in India oppose. He is clearly not a supporter of what they are for: the continuation of protracted people’s war, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the continuation of revolution through socialism to communism.

While accusing the Maoist movement the world over of metaphysics, this charlatan and swindler is the true practitioner of metaphysics with his casual calls for post-socialism.The real metaphysics is subordination to the dogmatism of movements that denies the need for the vanguard party. This movementist dogma is a perpetual dead end and has not produced even small victories. This clinging to movements is exactly what has dominated the imperialist centers in a world post-socialism. We will not champion a return to such trash thinking and are sincerely glad that this fake communist no longer parades as a Maoist.Good riddance!

The author then gives us a little bit more to work with:

simply the necessity of systematic and rigorous theoretical work beginning from the basic materialist premises and united with modest and serious intervention in social reality.

These modest but serious interventions would no doubt be carried out by RSCI, a non-tendency mass organization in one locality. The problems with this irrational thinking are too numerous to list, but include chiefly a reversion to empiricism, movementism, and left-refoundationism. The RSCI has also negated the leading role of the vanguard party or pre-party organization after their split with the Maoist Communist Group. It appears to be their position that there was no area where they were wrong and that in fact it is building the party itself that is wrong, and they thus reduce themselves to a politically neutralized activist club. You can attend other people’s demonstrations and even organize your own every day of the week and still end up begging for crumbs and being crushed to death by capitalism. Unless you give any of this meaning by building a party that can take power, you are doing nothing of value for the communist cause. Party-building is still the principal task of all revolutionary communists within the USA.

The author, former editor, and charlatan traitor states,

Western Maoism on the other hand is simply irrelevant and the sooner people realize this, the sooner we can begin developing a communist politics which relates to 21st century reality.

Here he tries to imply that there are two distinct Maoisms: one of the East and one of the West. After already saying the ICM was irrelevant in general, this maneuver is an attempt at denying that MLM was ever universal. Puzzling, since if he were ever a Maoist he would have understood that the universality of Maoism as the third and highest stage of Marxism is kind of the crux of our whole ideology. But of course it’s just not relevant” to him, but for whom is it particularly relevant? Certainly it is to the thousands who fight for it, who use it to inform their practice so that it does not grope in the dark. But alas, it is irrelevant to this one guy in an activist troupe out in Virginia. What is relevant to him is vague ultra-left communism and whatever the hell post-socialism is…

We could not be more disappointed with this garbage conclusion to an otherwise good project. However we have already pointed to this trajectory in our last report detailing the progress of our party-building efforts in the form of RGA cadre school, where we stated,Some comrades have abandoned MLM altogether, and it is our hope that we will win them back through practice and persuasion.We should add that not all can be won back to the cause. Some are too arrogant and others were just pretending to be Maoists to begin with.

We expect no response to this piece and doubt the author of the last post on Signalfire or their organization would care enough to provide one. We do not fault comrades for getting disheartened or demoralized. Sometimes these kinds of burnout are inevitable and we should help those suffering from burnout. What we cannot find acceptable or tolerable is propagating defeatism and demoralization to conclude years of work (without any self-criticism or reflection of individual involvement!), projecting your burnout onto others, and trying to discredit Maoism unprincipledly. Signalfire, when it began to become a Maoist-inspired project back in 2011, posted a piece from this same author titled A Farewell to Ultra-left Idealism.” Unfortunately it has come back full circle to ultra-left idealism, so this is our farewell to Signalfire. We await new sites that will serve its former use as a resource for news and theory from comrades in other places of the world, minus the individualist and arrogant ramblings of that editor. And should the editor read this, we thank you for knowingly or unknowingly helping in the creation of many Maoists who were inspired by the news articles you made available. We all look forward to proving you wrong in practice. If our response seems unnecessarily harsh to readers, we find that the framing of ideological struggle as sectarianism is behavior fitting of liberals who would gut the International Communist Movement of the hard-earned lessons learned in class struggle. This vile and opportunist behavior merits such a pointed response.

MLM lives, long live MLM!

-Red Guards Austin 2016

Criticism of the unprincipled actions of the MonkeyWrench Books collective

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The following is a criticism of the unprincipled actions of the MonkeyWrench Books collective (MWB).

From our inception RGA as an organization has enjoyed a positive relationship with MWB, supporting them both as a collective and as a community space. We have maintained a good working relationship with its members in the realm of activism and community work and have always regarded them as comrades. This has been, to our understanding, mutually beneficial, but as Maoists we know that one divides into two—that the law of contradiction is correct; that opposites can unite but unity is secondary to struggle, and that in these struggles unity is always a temporary condition. This statement is issued with the intention of continuing struggle in a public form—to place that struggle before the masses and our supporters, whether they be anarchists or communists, so that they may determine which line is correct and we can establish greater unity within our own ranks as well as greater unity with those in our community.

Over the course of more than a year, RGA has had members offering support to MWB in the form of volunteering to work shifts at their store. We have always helped promote their events as well as accepted invitations to hold our own events there that maintained a revolutionary and anti-capitalist character. More than a year ago, RGA hosted a very successful International Working Women’s Day event there. We have worked alongside our comrades in Serve the People as well as the Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People against Capitalism (RATPAC), who have hosted or helped host events at MWB. RGA has hosted May Day planning meetings as well as a score of other projects at MWB, all of which were inclusive to anyone of any ideological anti-capitalist tendency. Our relationship up to this point has been good and productive and has increased solidarity among the radical left in Austin.

Due to recent developments detailed in this statement, we can no longer enjoy comradely relations between MWB and RGA and can no longer support or endorse MWB or its claim of being a “community space”

* * *

In order to provide a basis for our claims, we offer the following brief summary of the recent goings-on involving MWB as well as their interactions with RGA.

Once at the end of May 2016 and then again in the beginning of June, two reading group sessions conducted as part of RGA’s Cadre School program were held at MWB.

During this whole time and well before, MWB continued to host a bi-weekly reading group of Jacobin—a communist magazine.

Not long after the second RGA reading group session, a member of MWB told an RGA cadre that he (the MWB member) planned to seek to have MWB declare these reading sessions unwelcome in MWB. When a line struggle emerged between them, the RGA cadre was informed that while other ostensibly communist reading groups would be allowed, RGA posed a particular threat due to our successful organizing attempts in the city, and that it was due in part to this success that he opposed us being able to access the space. Upon hearing this, RGA began hosting these reading group sessions in other locations.

Once MWB had a chance to meet and have a thorough discussion of the question, on June 21, we heard back that they had indeed decided that RGA was not welcome to conduct these reading group sessions at MWB.

Additionally, on July 4, at this year’s “Fuck the Fourth” a fundraising event put on by the Austin chapter of RATPAC, two members of MWB showed up without permission and set up a table to promote their propaganda, sell their merchandise, and seek donations.

Finally, in a less than two weeks from now, on July 24, MWB plans to host a discussion of an anti-Maoist book.

* * *

First, we say that MWB is deceitful. Publicly, they announce themselves to be a “social space” where they strive to form “connections across the lines that can separate and segregate us from one another.” Nowhere on their website do they announce that the collective that operates this bookstore is an anarchist collective. Only when asked to offer an explanation for why RGA’s reading groups were unwelcome did they declare that it is indeed an anarchist project.

When one of RGA’s cadres, who had been volunteering at their bookstore, first asked for a rationale for why MWB was considering disallowing RGA from conducting its reading group sessions there, one of MWB’s members told our cadre that “there will be no political party/ group organizing/ events at the store” and again, later, that they did not welcome “political organizing of a specific political body.” In fact, this is not true—Anarchist Black Cross regularly organizes events out of their bookstore. This same member later went on to say that MWB is not any “particular politic.” We do not know how to conclusively interpret the fact that this MWB member was so quick to deny that any specific political organizing happened at MWB despite the fact that this is not true, or to deny that MWB had a particular political ideology despite the fact that they are without question an anarchist project—but we would be remiss not to mention it.

Second, we hold that they are hypocritical and sectarian, and that this is made clear when one contrasts the rationales offered up in the notes of their June 21 meeting with their actual practice.

In those notes, they offered multiple reasons for their decision and wrote, “We intentionally avoided composing a unified statement of opposition because one isn’t possible, given the nature of the [MWB] collective.” We would like to say preemptively that while of course it is their right to operate this way, we insist that it is only fair to hold the collective as a whole, as well as each of its individual members, accountable for each of the rationales being put forward and as well as for any actions taken by its members and volunteers in the name of MWB. We maintain this position because in fact each member of MWB ongoingly re-chooses to remain in a collective with each other member of MWB. If a particular member’s rationale is objectionable or hypocritical, all the other members nonetheless proceed in full awareness that this is who they’re working with. We say that the members and MWB as a whole should not let bureaucracy conceal their accountability for the decisions being made by this project they lend their names and reputations to.

With that said, the following were the reasons they offered for their decision in their June 21, 2016, meeting notes:

“- Ideology: Monkeywrench is a loosely anarchist space, a maoist organization meeting once a week to produce more maoists conflicts with an anarchist project.

– Reputation: some felt like the frequency of the study group increases the chances of people thinking of monkeywrench as a place to go to find out about maoists. If events are once in a while, there’s less of an obvious connection.

– Approach: some didn’t like the perceived lack of open-endedness and recruitment-orientation of the study group.”

Even though they here acknowledge that they are in fact an anarchist project, they are still not being forthright. Months before RGA’s first reading group at MWB and to this day (more than a month after RGA’s second and final reading group session there), they continue to allow a study group for Jacobin magazine to meet in their bookstore. To be clear, the communist ideology of Jacobin is at least as irreconcilable with anarchism as RGA’s communist ideology.

What’s more, to frame the study group sessions RGA was holding as “recruitment-oriented” is either incomprehensible or in bad faith. What is a “recruitment orientation”? Is it possible for a political organization to hold an event that is not recruitment oriented in the broad sense? Does presenting works from a given tendency count as “recruitment orientation”? If so, then MWB’s presence at Fuck the Fourth was “recruitment-oriented.” In this sense, it is also hard for us to imagine what they think the Jacobin study group intends other than to create more communists, just as, in every action they take, MWB assuredly hopes to attract people to their own perspective. If “recruitment orientation” is something more substantive and specific than this, then their claim is baseless and in bad faith—one of MWB’s members attended our reading group and can himself attest that at no point were any calls or pitches made to join RGA or any organization, nor to undertake any actions at all.

Furthermore, we also find it absurd that they claim that they do not want people to think of their bookstore as a place to go to find out about Maoists when in fact they plan on hosting an “informational” event to slander and mischaracterize Maoism in their store on July 24.

What could possibly motivate their double standards? We struggle to find another reason than that want to be treated as non-competitors, while proactively striving to maneuver against other anti-capitalist tendencies that are actively organizing in the city. For an organization that takes objection to perceived ideological rivals organizing in spaces they maintain, they appear to have no qualms about opportunistically arriving to recruit to their own ideology and fundraise for their project in spaces created by their perceived rivals, as they did at a communist organization’s fundraising event on July 4.

We say that they have drawn a line of demarcation and, though they enforce it unevenly when it suits them, they behave as though, when it comes to a perceived rival tendency, only they are allowed to cross over the line, while the reverse is not welcome. We consider this not only to be sectarian but also to foster an elitist, do-nothing mentality. Throughout our relationship with MWB we have always dropped or rescheduled events that contradicted with anything going on at MWB. We have only hosted events or reading groups at times when the store would not be in use, as was the case with this reading group in particular. MWB would rather have an empty space than allow successful community organizers to host reading groups—at a bookstore, no less. Due to the eclectic nature of the material sold at the store, we find it hypocritical to police what we were reading (Lenin) since they are host to all sorts of liberal events. We find it anathema that they would censor what we are allowed to read and have discussion on. Is their eclectic ideology so weak that they fear it cannot stand up to Lenin? Are their own criticisms of Lenin so weak that they must fear making them? We still hold that struggle, especially ideological struggle, is good for the development of comrades, and we fear no criticism or critical approach.

While MWB can invoke “anarchism” when convenient, what they mean is petty-bourgeois liberalism and an aversion to principled struggle. They can agree neither on what anarchism is nor on what the space should exist to promote. In this mess they maintain that their positions on banning us are different from person to person, yet they have reached consensus on our collective, and exercised their power over the space to censor us and in this way have treated friends like enemies. Many of the anarchist arguments against communist-led countries in the past are based around ideological suppression and censorship of anarchist thinking—yet here it is they who act like the state and use their power to isolate comrades over ideological differences while we still say LET A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM, LET A HUNDRED THOUGHTS CONTEND. We do not feel that any thinking should be banned. If it is correct it will triumph and if it is false it should be openly debated and defeated. “Anarchists” behaving like thought police is a trend we have seen in numerous failed anarchist projects, and we are sad to see MWB on that same cynical road to nowhere. If they oppose or fear the words of Lenin, then they should come prove their position is correct, not suppress struggle by exercising property rights over us. While we are ideologically opposed to the metaphysical approach taken by anarchism, we still hold that anarchists and communists should work together and unite anywhere unity is possible. Since anarchists are not reformists, we see them as friends of the revolution and have always treated them as such, so this sectarian abuse of power without allowing for real ideological struggle is an affront to both anarchist and Maoist principles.

Third and finally, we would like to take this opportunity to point out a couple of facts about their offerings. One of the many strands of anarchism they feel comfortable promoting is anarcho-primitivism, or “anti-civilization” anarchism (there is a dedicated section in their zine area). In truth, this strand of anarchism is crypto-fascist, in practice trans-antagonistic and antagonistic to the struggle for an end to disability. While our primary point here is to call attention to their active promotion of this despicable, anti-human ideology, we would also like to observe that it is further evidence of their sectarian attitude, being willing to promote one of the most vile theories that flies under the flag of anarchism while actively organizing against one of the strands of communism, Maoism, that most often sees anarchists converting to it because of the kinship in spirit between the two ideologies. They also promote Vice magazine, a liberal, hipster rag that regularly repeats pro-U.S. imperialist talking points. Do they not find selling materials that promote the agenda of the most deadly and violent imperialist power on earth conflicts with their anarchist project?

CONCLUSION

At this time it is they who have chosen to try to isolate active revolutionary organizers from their property, and it is they who have begun drawing hard lines of demarcation. This has not prevented struggle—on the contrary, it has transformed the struggle. Due to this we hold firm that we will no longer attend or support events there. We discourage any illusions that MWB is a community space and will respond with initiating a boycott on those grounds. We have removed our volunteers and withdrawn all support. We have no intention of organizing with them as a collective or supporting their space to any extent, socially, politically, or economically. We encourage them to reevaluate the capitalist positions they have taken and to rectify this by offering up a genuine self-criticism. We encourage them to learn who their friends are and who their enemies are before they posture any further as a community space or as anti-capitalists in general, let alone as revolutionaries.

Update from Cadre School

 

cadreschoolpictureAlmost three months ago Red Guards Austin embarked on a program called Cadre School. This program was intended to offer a material approach to advance building the Maoist party. Failed attempts at party building by the Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party and to a lesser degree by the Maoist Communist Group helped to inform us of the necessity of such an ambitious project. Both national organizing efforts have collapsed due to different internal contradictions, and while this article is not focused on these now defunct groupings of US Maoists, it was the errors we identified in their approach to party building that have set us on this course and left us as the only MLM collective in the country that is prioritizing party building at this time, while comrades in other cities who we support are rightly focusing on consolidating their new collectives or rectification of past errors. Some comrades have abandoned MLM altogether, and it is our hope that we will win them back through practice and persuasion. *** we must offer clarification, the NYC branch (which appears to be the majority) of the MCG still retain the name, goals and purpose. Statements from this group are infrequent at best. 

The two major errors we identify can be understood as cliquishness or paternalistic orientations toward smaller or newer collectives, as well as a hands off approach – waiting for a collective to form, make waves, and then be absorbed into the larger body. These two organizations became defunct (at least as a multi-branch org) without much ceremony, and neither former project has (as of now) issued a summation of why and how they split apart, so by no means do we present our limited perceptual knowledge as fully formed rational knowledge. We hope that everyone involved in those party building efforts in any capacity will present their analysis on why these projects failed, which would be of service to us and everyone else seeking to build a Maoist Communist Party.

As detailed in our positions paper Condemned To Win, we hold that while party building is the principal task for all revolutionary communists, it must be done through the masses themselves and large numbers of people must be transformed into communists; there must be an advance in the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, paying close attention to the concrete conditions and the class struggle. We hold that the purpose and measure of being a communist is serving the people and that the party must be forged in this activity. While we cannot place party building in a time frame right now or speculate what every step will look like, we would also be wrong to pass the important questions facing our movement off to a later date and, by doing so, content ourselves to tailing the initiatives of the masses.

These are some of our most basic reasons for developing RGA Cadre School. To better understand our approach to creating cadre, we must first mention a bit about the Maoist approach to eduction, which is largely informed by the universal lessons earned through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China led by Mao Zedong. Mao’s approach to education can be read about in several documents, including Remarks at the Spring Festival, Reform Our Study, and Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing, just to name a few. The communist movement in China more than anywhere else brought revolutionary theory to the broadest masses of people, and the publication of Quotations from Chairman Mao has sold more copies than any other work of non-fiction in the history of the world [the only book to sell more copies is the Christian Bible.] Maoist education focuses on two important things: the class struggle and transformation. Credentials are not of the academic bourgeois variety and this turns the approach to learning upside down. The relationship between theory and practice is fully recognized by the combination of study with production. It would be impossible to approach teaching new cadre if we did not allow these things to inform our methods of work.

 

The first round of Cadre School attendees have arrived and began classes, mass work, and political work almost 3 months ago and we feel it is now time to offer up some of these experiences to others in the movement. The first thing we must assert is that teachers learn just as students teach, so Cadre School is formulated and led by a committee of both attendees elected by their peers as well as RGA cadre tasked with the project. This prevents the rise of experts and keeps the attendees active in their own education. Attendees were not chosen at random but based on what we determined would be most useful for the building of the party, so representatives from both the east and west coasts were chosen to participate. As part of our ongoing efforts to combat patriarchy on the left we chose to prioritize women and non-men who compose the whole of our first class. This first class has been our prototype, our best opportunity to learn through doing. The basic method we chose was to combine intensive theoretical study, debate and two line struggle, mass work among the people, physical labor, a structured disciplined life, arduous struggle and plain living, and specific tasks for each person with overall projects and objectives to complete.

The first hurtle came in the form of uneven theoretical development, as not all people have the same background and we feel that we would have made real mistakes to choose only those with extensive book knowledge on MLM. Furthermore, not everyone learns the same way or at the same pace. We have no intention of reproducing bourgeois education so some of our teachers as well as students have different learning abilities. All of this is, and must be, an ongoing struggle to restrict the emergence of elitism and self interest in the realm of theoretical study – which in a communist collective can create divisions and social status. We have witnessed some revisionist organizations hold back the theoretical development of rank and file members and safeguard access to theory to the most “trusted” within the formation – usually white men. To confront and resolve this contradiction we made efforts to diversify our study material to include films, documentaries etc. We took care to never let our study groups turn into long boring lectures, instead they are participatory and lecturing, when necessary, is a shared task. Line struggle and debate are encouraged throughout theoretical study. This contradiction has been mitigated but not resolved and it will remain a work in progress, while what we have accomplished is a lively method of study that utilizes the principles of consolidating the advanced to win over the intermediate and bring up anyone falling behind. Ideological consolidation is a reiterative and ongoing process of line struggle.

 

The second hurtle is developing a structured and disciplined lifestyle. This is done through always trying to be better organized and paying close attention to morale and enthusiasm, which includes being there for those struggling and uniting around bringing them up. Capitalist society is selfish and self-indulgent and it does not foster good collective responsibilities – it discourages such support. Discipline is essential to the communist organization but it must never be arbitrarily enforced at the expense of comrades’ mental health. Discipline itself has to be constructed through the destruction of our individualism and this has to be done with great care for the well-being of comrades. Discipline when maintained the correct way should be understood as something that makes us stronger, healthier, and more united. It should have an overall positive effect on all who have attained acceptable levels of organizational as well as personal discipline.

One of the ways in which this is accomplished is through cutting out the excess, getting rid of the cloudy bullshit that fucks us up or makes us complacent. This is what we mean by plain living and arduous struggle. In order to provide all the basic necessities for one another we must often cut out what is not as important, and reject things that discourage struggling with the people and encourage laying about. It includes physical activity, exercise, healthy diets, and most importantly, comradely support. To be the most effective at our task we all feel that higher levels of discipline and struggle are needed than we experienced in our former lives. All of these principles should be accomplished through working together and being patient with one another, and never through commandments or mandates. This too will be uneven and people will always go back and forth, this must be understood as a struggle with many setbacks, but a struggle that is worth it. We have seen the discipline and commitment rise sharply in ourselves as well as those in attendance through such a project. As communists we do not believe in perfection, we believe in motion – in transformation.

 

RGA Cadre School seeks to provide revolutionary theory and practice to committed comrades outside of our locale, who can return home and use their experience and knowledge to get organized there. It is essential that all experienced MLM organizers take an active role in the formation of new revolutionary collectives that will root themselves among the masses and continue to grow. It is through these comrades that strong revolutionary collectives will be formed, offering the pre-party formation a far reach and containing a higher level of unity established through close ties derived from practice. Comrade Mao lays out some of our principles when he stated:

 

“Our Party organizations must be extended all over the country and we must purposefully train tens of thousands of cadres and hundreds of first-rate mass leaders. They must be cadres and leaders versed in Marxism-Leninism [today Maoism], politically far-sighted, competent in work, full of the spirit of self-sacrifice, capable of tackling problems on their own, steadfast in the midst of difficulties and loyal and devoted in serving the nation, the class and the Party. It is on these cadres and leaders that the Party relies for its links with the membership and the masses, and it is by relying on their firm leadership of the masses that the Party can succeed in defeating the enemy. Such cadres and leaders must be free from selfishness, from individualistic heroism, ostentation, sloth, passivity, and arrogant sectarianism, and they must be selfless national and class heroes; such are the qualities and the style of work demanded of the members, cadres and leaders of our Party.”

 

As we are now coming to the end of this first attempt we are still in the process of summarizing and synthesizing this initial, modest effort. We will further advance our efforts and elaborate this program in other documents as we gain more insight. This is a program we intend to continue and improve upon. The only real test for our efforts will be shown in the work of those in attendance as they move forward with their own collectives. It will be the success of new revolutionary collectives which will prove our approach in practice, and it is this that we look forward to the most. We will close with a few words from some of the comrade attendees.

 

“Cadre School has been, as of yet, the most intellectually intensive experience of my life. I came here a communist in name but with little practice. Six hours of studying most days, mass work, and participating in meetings – this has all led to what I feel is an accelerated ideological development, and I have gained the ability to take on a leadership role when I go back to the city I came here from.”

 

“What I’ve learned in Cadre School is, in a word, how to be a good communist (not the Liu Shaoqi type) in the 21st century imperialist metropolis. What this takes is 1) serious revolutionary study – not taken in the abstract and pursued for an academic hobby but being read with the current conjuncture in mind at all times; 2) active and ongoing mass work – the Maoist job is to orient ourselves toward the masses and not small petty-bourgeois activist cliques; these will be won over or isolated in the course of revolutionary practice, but that practice starts from communists integrating ourselves with the masses (this is an especially important point to grasp for people who were previously solely engaged in student organizing, such as myself); 3) a high level of discipline and willingness (if not an eagerness) to both submit one’s thoughts to the collective in order to boost two-line struggle and criticism/self-criticism, as well as to fully submit to the decisions of the collective when it comes to one’s actions – without this level of discipline, it would not be possible to build the revolutionary party capable of all the triumphs that we seek. These may seem like simple points, but before Cadre School I studied revolutionary works with an academic mindset, oriented myself toward petty bourgeois student organizing, and had no serious conception of a revolutionary discipline. All these developments will surely better prepare me for advancing the Maoist party building effort.”

 

“Years of organizing in a revisionist party left me somewhat demoralized, but also in desperate need of guidance and calibration as a communist if I were to continue on the path that history is demanding of us. While I was capable of leading people, practical organizing, and taking bold actions, at the same time my mind was rife with egotism, subjectivism, careerism, and overall individualism. This is because I was severely lacking experience in the two key areas that are stressed by RGA: mass work that actually involves utilizing the mass line in serving the people, and serious collective criticism/self-criticism. In struggling to acclimate to the reality of carrying out these tasks, I eventually reached a crisis point where my inner bourgeois self and my communist self came to the fore as an open antagonistic contradiction that demanded resolution. Through the help of my comrades here, I have since engaged in a process of thought reform to enable my communist self to overcome my bourgeois self. This means that I have started to learn how to turn Maoism inwards, instead of it being something that I only projected outward into the world. Thus I have begun to really understand the essence of the dialectical unity of my thought and my practice, and have begun to more thoroughly unite my own self-interest with that of the interest of the proletarian class. To continue on this road means to truly fear no difficulty, no hardship, to shun even death itself in order to serve the people, unite with the people, and fight alongside the people to destroy all exploitation & oppression and reach the total harmony of communism.”